Former President Donald Trump plans to declare himself the Republican Party’s “presumptive 2024 nominee” at this weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference, Axios reports.
Trump will give his first major speech since leaving office on Sunday in Orlando, where he plans a “show of force” and a focus on payback.
Trump is expected to deliver a message amounting to "I may not have Twitter or the Oval Office, but I'm still in charge.”
"Trump effectively is the Republican Party," adviser Jason Miller told Axios. "The only chasm is between Beltway insiders and grassroots Republicans around the country. When you attack President Trump, you're attacking the Republican grassroots."
Trump is planning revenge against Republicans who voted against him during his second impeachment and plans to act as a kingmaker in the 2022 midterms, though Republicans lost control of the House in the last midterm election and lost control of the Senate in the latest election cycle despite his constant presence.
Trump may tease run:
Axios reported that “many” Trump confidants think he will “pretend to run” but ultimately choose not to.
Instead, they say, he will use the possible re-election bid to reassert his leverage within the party.
Advisers say some Republicans have also pressed Trump for endorsements in the upcoming election cycle.
Advisers say Trump plans to set up a formal process to vet candidates and ensure they have the financial resources and organization to mount a real bid.
Trump has $75 million in a super PAC that was largely raised under the guise of funding legal election challenges though little of the money actually went toward the highly unsuccessful legal effort.
Pence not going:
Former Vice President Mike Pence declined an invitation to the event, according to CNN.
Organizers say they still plan to try to convince Pence to come but sources believe Pence plans to lay low for the next six months.
CPAC organizer Matt Schlapp told USA Today that he thinks it’s a “mistake” for Pence to skip the event because "his conservative record is well respected, and conservatives want to hear his take on the current threats posed by socialism and this radicalized Democrat party."